Monday, June 19

It's not so nice to see a closed playground

There is a nice Hebrew song titled "זה לא כל כך נעים ליראות גן סגור" that applies well to the ex-playground close to my home.

Once upon a time, Al Ajami was included in the "shikum shehunot" program (the neighborhood renewal program) and a lovely playground was constructed, partially on top of our local public bomb shelter. The shelter's rooftop part of the playground could be reached by wooden stairs and a hanging bridge which was a great favorite with the local kids. Scary enough to be fun, yet quite child-secure in reality. Mothers felt safe to let even toddlers play around unsupervised.
But wooden contructions close to the sea need maintenance. Which, ofcourse, had not been included in the "Shikum Shehunot" deal. So the wood started to rot and slowly the playground became unsafe. Bits and pieces of the hanging bridge came down, the iron link chains started to oxidize through and little by little they broke. For the children this was even more fun. "I dare you" was very popular with all the little boys in the hood and with quite a few of the little girls as well.
After bugging the municipality for about a year to come and carry out the necessary repairs, they did so, after a fashion:

They took down the hanging bridge and the wooden stairs including the railing.
Yet the concrete construction on which the stairs rested, became a dangerous improvised downhill slide. Kids in Jaffa are inventive and with a piece of carton to sit on, the about 3 mr high concrete slope soon was as popular as before.

Yet the concrete slope had no railings and ofcourse it would be only a matter of time until some child would fall from it and break an arm or worse.

So once more, e-mails to the municipality: Please repair our playground in a child-safe fashion.

And come they did, but not to repair. They simply placed some contruction iron sheeting around the concrete slope. So now there is nothing left of our playground. We have an ex-playground.

Children being children, they soon created an opening in the flimsy sheeting, Thus regaining access to their downhill concrete slope.
Now they crash into the sheeting, which is fun, but again, an accident waiting to happen.

Is it really so difficult to repair our playground?
Or should we wait till municipal election year, when they want to whow us the great progress made in Jaffa.
Soon the summer holidays will start.

A safe playground is something we can only dream about.

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